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  1. Abstract We outline the “dark siren” galaxy catalog method for cosmological inference using gravitational wave (GW) standard sirens, clarifying some common misconceptions in the implementation of this method. When a confident transient electromagnetic counterpart to a GW event is unavailable, the identification of a unique host galaxy is in general challenging. Instead, as originally proposed by Schutz, one can consult a galaxy catalog and implement a dark siren statistical approach incorporating all potential host galaxies within the localization volume. Trott & Huterer recently claimed that this approach results in a biased estimate of the Hubble constant, H 0 , when implemented on mock data, even if optimistic assumptions are made. We demonstrate explicitly that, as previously shown by multiple independent groups, the dark siren statistical method leads to an unbiased posterior when the method is applied to the data correctly. We highlight common sources of error possible to make in the generation of mock data and implementation of the statistical framework, including the mismodeling of selection effects and inconsistent implementations of the Bayesian framework, which can lead to a spurious bias. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 22, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The LIGO HET Response (LIGHETR) project is an enterprise to follow up optical transients (OTs) discovered as gravitational-wave merger sources by the LIGO/Virgo collaboration (LVC). Early spectroscopy has the potential to constrain crucial parameters such as the aspect angle. The LIGHETR collaboration also includes the capacity to model the spectroscopic evolution of mergers to facilitate a real-time direct comparison of models with our data. The principal facility is the Hobby–Eberly Telescope. LIGHETR uses the massively replicated VIRUS array of spectrographs to search for associated OTs and obtain early blue spectra, and in a complementary role, the low-resolution LRS2 spectrograph is used to obtain spectra of viable candidates as well as a densely sampled series of spectra of true counterparts. Once an OT is identified, the anticipated cadence of spectra would match or considerably exceed anything achieved for GW170817 = AT2017gfo for which there were no spectra in the first 12 hr and thereafter only roughly once daily. We describe special HET-specific software written to facilitate the program and attempts to determine the flux limits to undetected sources. We also describe our campaign to follow up OT candidates during the third observational campaign of the LIGO and Virgo Scientific Collaborations. We obtained VIRUS spectroscopy of candidate galaxy hosts for five LVC gravitational-wave events and LRS2 spectra of one candidate for the OT associated with S190901ap. We identified that candidate, ZTF19abvionh = AT2019pip, as a possible Wolf–Rayet star in an otherwise unrecognized nearby dwarf galaxy.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT

    The identification of the electromagnetic (EM) counterpart candidate ZTF19abanrhr to the binary black hole merger GW190521 opens the possibility to infer cosmological parameters from this standard siren with a uniquely identified host galaxy. The distant merger allows for cosmological inference beyond the Hubble constant. Here, we show that the three-dimensional spatial location of ZTF19abanrhr calculated from the EM data remains consistent with the latest sky localization of GW190521 provided by the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration. If ZTF19abanrhr is associated with the GW190521 merger, and assuming a flat wCDM model, we find that $H_0=48^{+23}_{-10}\, \mathrm{km} \, \mathrm{s}^{-1}\, \mathrm{Mpc}^{-1}$, $\Omega _m=0.35^{+0.41}_{-0.26}$, and $w_0=-1.31^{+0.61}_{-0.48}$ (median and $68{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ credible interval). If we use the Hubble constant value inferred from another gravitational-wave event, GW170817, as a prior for our analysis, together with assumption of a flat ΛCDM and the model-independent constraint on the physical matter density ωm from Planck, we find $H_0=68.9^{+8.7}_{-6.0}\, \mathrm{km} \, \mathrm{s}^{-1}\, \mathrm{Mpc}^{-1}$.

     
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  4. Abstract

    The Wide-Field Infrared Transient Explorer (WINTER) is a new 1 deg2seeing-limited time-domain survey instrument designed for dedicated near-infrared follow-up of kilonovae from binary neutron star (BNS) and neutron star–black hole mergers. WINTER will observe in the near-infraredY,J, and short-Hbands (0.9–1.7μm, toJAB= 21 mag) on a dedicated 1 m telescope at Palomar Observatory. To date, most prompt kilonova follow-up has been in optical wavelengths; however, near-infrared emission fades more slowly and depends less on geometry and viewing angle than optical emission. We present an end-to-end simulation of a follow-up campaign during the fourth observing run (O4) of the LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA interferometers, including simulating 625 BNS mergers, their detection in gravitational waves, low-latency and full parameter estimation skymaps, and a suite of kilonova lightcurves from two different model grids. We predict up to five new kilonovae independently discovered by WINTER during O4, given a realistic BNS merger rate. Using a larger grid of kilonova parameters, we find that kilonova emission is ≈2 times longer lived and red kilonovae are detected ≈1.5 times further in the infrared than in the optical. For 90% localization areas smaller than 150 (450) deg2, WINTER will be sensitive to more than 10% of the kilonova model grid out to 350 (200) Mpc. We develop a generalized toolkit to create an optimal BNS follow-up strategy with any electromagnetic telescope and present WINTER’s observing strategy with this framework. This toolkit, all simulated gravitational-wave events, and skymaps are made available for use by the community.

     
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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Abstract The science objectives of the LISA mission have been defined under the implicit assumption of a 4-years continuous data stream. Based on the performance of LISA Pathfinder, it is now expected that LISA will have a duty cycle of $$\approx 0.75$$ ≈ 0.75 , which would reduce the effective span of usable data to 3 years. This paper reports the results of a study by the LISA Science Group, which was charged with assessing the additional science return of increasing the mission lifetime. We explore various observational scenarios to assess the impact of mission duration on the main science objectives of the mission. We find that the science investigations most affected by mission duration concern the search for seed black holes at cosmic dawn, as well as the study of stellar-origin black holes and of their formation channels via multi-band and multi-messenger observations. We conclude that an extension to 6 years of mission operations is recommended. 
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